About Me

Interview with Carach Angren

Despite the mess created by the COVID-19 outbreak, we were able to talk to Clemens “Ardek” Wijers, from Carach Angren. The new album “Franckensteina Strataemontanus” created by the Dutch band is soon to be released and that’s exactly what we discussed with Ardek, among many other topics. With a solid name already built in the Metal industry, Carach Angren are hoping that all of this situation can be solved soon enough so that they can spread the horror again wherever they go… Portugal included. See below what Ardek has to say.

M.I. - Greetings from Portugal and the Metal Imperium team! Hopefully, this interview can find you well and safe and sound. How’s everyone dealing with this COVID-19 outbreak so far at Carach Angren?

Hi, thanks for having us. Well, the world is basically locked down so that means much less activity, especially in the music business. However, health goes first and is the most important thing right now so I’m glad most countries are trying to effectively and humanely protect those who are vulnerable among us. After that, we all estimate the economic and other damage and move on. That’s how I see it. Personally we’re fine, we’re focussing on music and promoting the album right now. 

M.I. – So, “Franckensteina Strataemontanus” is planned to be released in June this year. In your opinion, is this outbreak going to affect the release in regards to dates, tours, etc.?

Of course, this was also the reason why we had to postpone it one month. A lot of bands have postponed their releases much further away but we were already done with recording and mixing and our whole promotion already had started before this all happened, so we decided to continue with it in the best possible way. Also, it can give people something to anticipate amidst all this and hopefully also offer some form of comfort. We are still extremely excited about the album, so we are ready to show it to the world. And at the same time, everyone around the world is dealing with this issue, so... it is what it is. And again, health is very important, the most important thing right now, so let’s hope we all get this under control soon.

M.I. – This is going to be the band’s 6th studio album so far and Carach Angren has been known for a while due to the lyrics related to legends and myths dwelling into horror stories territory. This album seems to be no different. Tell us, what is it that inspires you in these tales? 

Well, the concept album thing has grown with us from the very beginning. I remember when we started Carach Angren, I said “Why don’t we combine all songs into one story? It’s much easier regarding the whole composition and general production”. So we did that and, from my perspective, it has always felt like scoring a movie, because you musically, sonically approach the subject at hand. Plus, it also immediately offers inspiration for artwork, video, photography and all other aspects in the band. What inspires us is, first of all, the horror, mystery and awe in these tales. They are otherworldly, full of fantasy and speak to our emotions and imagination. We need that. We need something to excite us and pull us in in order to start crafting an album. 

M.I. – Earlier this year, in February, Namtar left the band, issuing a statement saying he just wasn’t happy anymore with how things were going within the music the industry, especially in regards to live events. Soon after, in March, another statement has been issued by the band, welcoming Michiel van der Plicht as the new live drummer. Is this the end of an era for the band, considering Namtar has been in Carach Angren for so long? Are there any plans to make Michiel a full-time replacement for Namtar?

It was sad he made that decision, but there was ultimately no other way. As he clearly stated: he was not happy anymore. For Seregor and I, the band has only been growing and, especially with this album, we are extremely excited. We worked incredibly hard on it, so for us this is just a continuation of what has been going on. When Namtar informed us of his decision we immediately started looking for someone to take over drum duties and gladly we found Michiel, who was willing to help us out on 70.000 tons of metal. Then, we felt it was a great cooperation mutually and decided to continue it. At the same time, Seregor and I were thinking about how to continue. From the beginning it has been our project so to speak, so regarding the music and creative side there is not really a vacancy. If we started adding new band members officially, it would mean a totally new band and then you would have to think if it still would be Carach Angren. So, we decided to make the band a two piece and continue playing with live/studio musicians on a solid basis. 

M.I. – After Namtar left, “Franckensteina Strataemontanus” was already in production. Considering he certainly had an important part to play in this process, what impact did it have on the album and how did it affect the recording process?

Well, looking back, his excitement had been gone already a while, but in the end he nicely managed to play his parts on the album. Shortly after that, new touring offers came in and that’s when he came out and said he didn’t want to do it anymore. This was already in November. We had a couple of talks among the three of us, trying to see what we could do but his decision was already definitive. So, basically from that moment on, Seregor and I did all the promotion and such together with the management, the record label and other people helping us out. We agreed to wait a bit with presenting the change to the outside world because we had to work some things out. 

M.I. – The “Monster” music video has been recently launched as well. How is everyone reacting to it so far? Are there any plans to launch more music videos anytime soon? 

Yes, the response has been really great, also from the press meetings we did in Paris, Darmstadt and Nijmegen. “Monster” is a very special song, it was a teaser for what is about to come. On Friday 24th, we released a new song together with a lyric video named “Franckensteina Strataemontanus”. And after that more will follow!

M.I. – With quite an impressive performance on stage, the plans for the tour that could eventually come along this new album are probably going to be affected, unfortunately. Are there any dates already planned for this tour to happen? Can we expect a visit to Portugal as well?

I think things are going to happen next year as I see this current situation stretching for a long time, unfortunately. So, hopefully we come back to Portugal once again then! We love it out there and now we have really awesome fans we met on our European tour last year as well as the festivals we did.

M.I. – Between “Lammendam” and “Franckensteina Strataemontanus” there is a 12-year difference. Tell us about the progress that the band has made since “Lammendam”. What differences can be seen or heard from 2008 all the way up to 2020? 

Good question. I think there has been a steady growth with us always. A lot of things haven’t changed regarding the music or the visuals, it has only developed more and more. The thing with us is that a lot of it, if not all, always happens intuitively. We are sometimes asked who does our stage choreography and such, but we never even really think about it. It just naturally developed while playing shows. It’s the same with creating music: once we come onto an idea we start navigating in that direction, just paying attention to the subject and trying things. In the end, things just happen. At the same time, there has been a lot of natural growth. If I look at my own composition and production skills, they have grown a lot and I’m very proud of it. Seregor as developed incredibly as well, if you see his performance now, the masks he makes... it’s all next level (laughs).

M.I. – Speaking of progress throughout your career, along the way you had to deal with controversy when a local Christian party saw you and other bands scheduled to perform on Christmas Eve as evil and a danger to everyone. How do you deal with that and how much has it affected the band’s name within the area?

Well, this has been the single best commercial ever. Really, it was a blessing (to use a religious term [laughs]). Seriously, it’s been almost five years and we are still talking about it. When it happened, we got played on national radio, were in national TV news and everyone defended us. Plus, we got to play a packed show. So, thanks, Christian Party!

M.I. – Considering that this isn’t something new within the Heavy Metal industry, with many other bands having gone through the same experience before, is this something you’re expecting to deal with again in the future? What is it that, in your opinion, sparked this tension from the local party? Was it the lyrics, the sound in general, the stage performance…?

Funnily enough, we had been playing around the globe in that year a lot so the country where we least expected it was our own liberal country. At the same time, it was just one small local Christian party but the news travelled quickly through media as it was a juicy story. I think what sparked it was the fact that we played on the 24th of December, which they and a lot of people see as the official celebration for Christmas. Which is perfectly fine! Also the gig was advertised with one of our crazier pictures stating “We unleash demonic forces over Amstelveen”, if I remember correctly. To me it was all very innocent to be honest, but again: great promo! 

M.I. – Moving forward, what are your plans for the future and what can we expect from Carach Angren after all this mess with the COVID-19 outbreak has been dealt with?

We hope to go on tour as soon as possible after all this and present our new album live!

M.I. – Is there anything you would like to address to our fans in Portugal anxiously waiting for your return?

Hold on, we love you and stay safe until the Horror arrives once more!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by João Guevara